Prospecting is the main key to success


by Chuck Van Devander

At BIMS, we not only support our producers, but we help them continue to learn and grow.  One way is through a selling process we call the Process to Success.  My blog posts will give a high-level overview of the Process we teach our producers who are interested in growing their life insurance sales.  If you are interested in learning more about the Process, please contact me.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will provide tips to help you sell more life insurance.  First and foremost, you need to have a process.  It can be one you have created, one you have learned, or a combination of the two.  So why is a process important?  Because it creates consistency.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had experienced producers come to me and tell me they are in a slump, and just can’t figure out how to get back on track.  After a few questions and some hard truths, the answer is very often that they have become lazy and changed the process that made them successful.   Most common is they have stopped prospecting.  Many experienced producers rely on referrals from the hundreds or even thousands of clients in their existing books of business.  But if those referrals start to dry up, many producers realize they have quit prospecting – and that is the topic of this post.

Prospecting is the heart and soul of being successful in the life insurance business.  If you aren’t finding new clients, you don’t have anyone to sell to, meaning you are one step away from needing to find a new career. 

Here are 4 prospecting methods to help you find more clients.

  1.  You Write Who You Run With – For those of you who started in a career distribution, this was generally the method you started with.  You would be required to write the names of 100 people you knew.  It could be family, friends, past co-workers, and acquaintances at the places you frequent.  The problem is when you are starting out, you probably are hanging out with other people just like you – people who don’t have much money!  You need to re-think how you can change a few of your hangouts to give yourself a better chance of finding people with money.  If you exercise at a gym or fitness center, how much do you pay?  If you say $29/month, you may want to make a change.  Look for something more upscale, which means more expensive.  The first objection I hear from agents is “I can’t afford it”.  I respond back and say you can’t afford not to.  Think of this.  If you move to a fitness center that is $129/month, you are paying an extra $100/month or $1,200/year.  How many life policies do you need to sell to make $1,200?  ONE! And a small one at that.  If you go to your new workout facility and can’t find one new client, you may want to reconsider your career choice.  
  1. Narrow and Deep Target Marketing –  This method works best for agents who had a career before they joined the insurance industry.  Narrow and Deep Target Marketing means you are being very specific about who you are looking for.  You are keeping the pond to a limited size, but you want to catch as many fish in that one pond as possible.  That means you select one industry, preferably one you are very familiar with, and you work it relentlessly.  For example, I used to be in the residential construction industry.   I did land surveying which meant I was at numerous job sites every week.  I met people who did the excavation, concrete, carpentry, plumbing, electrical services, roofing, and much more.  I didn’t just meet the hourly workers, I also met the owners of those companies and their foremen.  That meant I had hundreds of people to call on who both had money and they had something in common with me.  We both knew their industry.  This allowed me to dress like they dress, to talk like they talk, and to understand their needs and desires, since I had experienced the same ones.  It give me instant credibility and made that first conversation much easier since I knew what questions to ask and I understand their answers.  This can be a very powerful way to build a book of business.
  1. Prospect/Client Seminars –  To use Prospect/Client Seminars you need to be very knowledgeable about a topic.  It may be business succession planning, estate planning, or something similar.  Seminars are used to demonstrate your expertise or demonstrate that you have access to the expertise.  Often you will have a guest speaker such as an attorney, an accountant, or an advanced markets specialist.  The true key to being successful is to do very thorough planning and be very deliberate about your implementation.  If the prospects feel the seminar was disorganized, poorly run, or did not have professional content, your chances of success are minimal.  However, if the prospects feel the seminar was run professionally, you were confident and knowledgeable and you were personable, then you have an excellent chance of success.  Two more important points.  First, you must go into the seminar with a goal in mind and work very hard to achieve that goal.  Second, you must follow up with each attendee on a very timely basis and in a very professional manner.  Any delay and you have probably lost any chance with that prospect. 
  1. Existing Clients –  How can existing clients be prospects?  They can be prospects when you go back through their information and look for new opportunities.   Did you sell them an annuity and not even consider the life insurance opportunities or vice versa?  Did you sell them a term policy and then forgot about them?  Many very successful agents I know spend time reworking existing client files.  They turn a basic policy review into a new opportunity to identify new or additional needs.  People’s lives change, their needs change and their financial situation changes.  Are you keeping up with your client’s changes, or are you letting your competition learn about those changes before you do.

At the end of the day, being successful takes new opportunities to sell.  You should never forget about prospecting and finding new clients, regardless of how busy you are or how much you are selling this year.  By continuing to prospect every day and at every opportunity, you will avoid the dreaded production slump so many producers go through.

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